Friday Jun 27, 2014

More Wearables: A wearables design jam out-of-house with EchoUser and FATHOM

By Misha Vaughan, Oracle Applications User Experience

The Oracle Applications User Experience (OAUX) team hosted its first Wearables Design Jam with people outside of Oracle in May. Members of the team headed up to San Francisco for the event, which was held at EchoUser, a user experience (UX) design and consultancy firm and a collaborator on UX with Oracle. Ultan O’Broin (@usableapps), OAUX Director and partner outreach dynamo, was the host. This reprised event updated an earlier internal event, also the first of its kind here, on wearables. Our goal, as before, was to get design teams thinking about the enterprise use cases for wearable technology.


O’Broin shows off wearable ears.
Photos by Rob Hernandez.

Ultan said at the event: “The goals for the day were to build a relationship with a partner in the wearables and innovation space - to see if we could work together in a way that was mutually beneficial and to increase the awareness of users in this space. We are ahead of the curve and ready to offer optimal user experiences, and the technology is there. This is a pilot event because we want to do more of this. We want to work out the methodologies so we can take it on the road. I’d like to try this next in the UK, and in a culture that hasn’t been exposed to the wearable hype, and try it in countries that are very conscious of what goes on in the public and private sphere, like Germany, and try it in Asian countries as well.” 

Ultan said the event was great. “People entered into the spirit of openness, their own experiences, their own background - and they applied it in a fun and meaningful way," he said.

Ultan and Anthony Lai (@anthonyslai), of the TheAppslab team at Oracle (@theappslab), delivered a level-setting presentation on the state of the art for wearables, including examples of Google Glass. Attendees were from Oracle, EchoUser, and FATHOM, a 3D-printing company in the Bay Area.  


Veronica De La Rosa of FATHOM, Carol Chen of EchoUser and Aylin Uysal of Oracle develop on-boarding concepts that incorporate wearables.

Attendees then broke into teams of three and four to brainstorm on enterprise wearables concepts. They sketched, drew, debated, and produced an idea for an enterprise wearable use case in 2 hours. All teams delivered a 5-minute pitch at the end of the day to judges Mick McGee (@micklives), CEO, EchoUser; and Jeremy Ashley (@jrwashley), VP, Oracle Applications User Experience. Teams pitched employee on-boarding wearables, shipping delivery driver wearables, and retail worker wearables.


Mick McGee, EchoUser, and Jeremy Ashley, Oracle, discuss the design themes emerging around wearables.

Mick and Jeremy gave comments on the team presentations, which are recapped here: 

Mick: “There was a theme of people interaction and people connection, enabling our interaction with work colleagues. where you can actually get around the social stigma of using wearables to connect. I like the idea of interaction in different, small, productive ways. One thing that stuck out to me in talking to Jeremy was all the small gains in end user experiences – that will be the killer app.”  

Jeremy: “I agree with all of those points, especially the small gains. There are different cultures where being tracked is actually motivating, e.g., you being monitored while you are doing a safety check, so you want to be monitored. In another environment, you may not want to be tracked; the level and type of tracking needs to be different. I think understanding role by role where the comfort level is, is important.”  

Mick: “If you recall the iPhone days, that was only 7 years ago. There was a big platform change, from my perspective, all this investment going on, this next platform is right around the corner. Enterprise has more of a chance, to me, than consumer for this kind of technology because they make us work better. I’m excited to see where wearables goes.”

Jeremy:  “It’s exploring what is already in the environment, and leveraging what we might consider mundane tasks, and automating them. These are the small gains that we are going to get with this kind of technology. I like the idea of things happening around you -- rather than going to websites to onboard, giving a device – eyelashes, a ring, or whatever -- where they can have a personal on-boarding experience.”

Mick: “I see a lot of potential in these ideas to help the end-user consumer, especially to help reduce the social stigma associated with these technologies.” 

So which idea did the two execs think had the most enterprise merit?

Jeremy: "The Thought Box was the best solution. It would have a high impact using existing infrastructure, with off-the-shelf parts, and would greatly enhance the whole experience, and could viably be done now.  And it combines many small gains. That would be, overall, a big impact." 


The winning team, Thought Box: Kimra McPherson, EchoUser; Amaya Lascano, EchoUser; and David Haimes, Oracle. With Jeremy Ashley and Mick McGee in the background.

The Thought Box team pitched a wearable designed to be worn by a shipping delivery driver – such as a UPS or DHL driver. The wearable, such as a pair of sunglasses, would provide detailed information about the shipping delivery location such as:
Whether any hazards exist
Whether the recipient is home
Step-by-step directions to the location 
How to be more efficient in the delivery based on past experience
How to be safe, such as using a trolley when moving a heavy load up a steep grade
Sending alerts to the recipient when the driver is close
Taking a picture of the package at the drop location and sending it to the recipient
Even integrating construction details.

This device is aimed at making small efficiency gains that can scale across the whole business. 


The Thought Box concept and pitch sketches

The overall benefit of this wearable concept was aimed at making faster and more reliable deliveries to increase a driver’s rate of success. The related goal is also reducing customer calls, because of the real-time trouble-shooting.

My personal favorite wearable technology of the day: 
I personally was delighted by the idea of custom wearables designed by Team ConneXtion, and modeled by Aylin Uysal below.


Aylin models wearable eyelashes, intended to aid new hire on-boarding.

How do you find out more?
The Oracle Applications User Experience team is going to be going on the road in the year ahead.  If you want to chat with us about our experiences with wearable technologies, along with other technology we see on the horizon, feel free to find us at an upcoming event on UsableApps.  

If you will be at OOW 2014, so will the Apps UX team. Come find us!

Thursday Nov 21, 2013

Will You Be Wearing Your Enterprise Application Data?

By Misha Vaughan, Oracle Applications User Experience

The Oracle Applications User Experience group has begun to explore the role of wearable computing and enterprise use cases, which is part and parcel of our charter to watch for future trends that will matter to our customers’ workforce.  See, for example, some of the recent posts by The AppsLab team and Ultan (@ultan) on wearables.

Heads-Up Displays: Google Glass

Anthony Lai (@anthonyslai), a User Experience Architect at Oracle, has been roaming the halls of Oracle with what are now easily identifiable as Google Glass.  In this post, he talks about his experience using Google Glass and what he has learned about wearing them in an enterprise setting.

Anthony Lai
Anthony Lai
Photo by Misha Vaughan

Q:  Let's start with the basics. What is Google Glass, and what is the vision behind the technology?

A: Glass is a device that is supposed to be non-intrusive, to give you information when you need it.  It is a way for you to quickly know about stuff right away, without even opening up a tablet or device.  It provides notifications to you for things you are interested in.  It provides you with navigation.  You can ask questions in a free-form format.  You can take pictures and do video recording for memories.  Quick snapshots. The photos are nice; they are wide-angle.  

Q: Do people around you find it intrusive at all?  Do they object to the video-recording capacity?

A: If you take a picture, you hear the click sound and there is a flash.  It’s not like you don't know it's happening. That brings in a paradigm about glass.  They position it just above the eye. You need the eye contact to create trust.

Q:  What have you found to be useful for yourself, in terms of work?

The first thing is that I subscribe to things I'm interested in on Twitter.  In Twitter, you can have a lot of people you are following.  You can select which people you want to receive on your Glass.  I put some technology things on there, and Glass would notify me.  I feel like it's really annoying now to go to my phone or my desktop. With Glass, it's just instant. That's key for me.

The other side is in-car navigation.  I was using my phone, but with Glass, I can see straight ahead and get the directions in my ear.  If it is time for you to turn and take actions, it will tell you.  So it's not really distracting you from driving.

Q:  As a developer working for Oracle, what enterprise use cases occur to you?

Take a CRM use case. What does a sales rep need to do when they go into a sales meeting?  What information do they need to know wherever they are?  One example is if there is a sales meeting coming up at 3 p.m., Google Glass can remind you, and then give you quick information, like attendees.  If you want to call an attendee right away, you can.  If you need to make a quick note, if you need to find where the meeting is, how bad traffic is to get there.  

During a meeting, we thought, what if you want to take a picture of the attendees so you don't forget who was at a meeting?  

At the end of the meeting, you may want to debrief.  You go to a coffee shop around the corner, where you can sit and make notes of the meeting with co-workers. You can even run a Google Hangout, or video-conference, with people who are there and not there.

Q: Final thoughts?

It's amazing technology.  I think it is an appropriate technology to move into the future.  I think there are a lot of people right now that are skeptical.  Right now, it is expensive.  Ultimately, the price will go down.  

Wearables: An Executive Perspective

Jeremy Ashley
Jeremy Ashley, Vice President of the Oracle Applications User Experience team, with his Pebble Watch.

"It's not just about Google Glass,” says Jeremy Ashley (@jrwashley), Vice President of Oracle Applications User Experience. “What we are doing is taking the application of computing power here, and moving away from it being a single device. We are moving to multiple devices that sense the world around you. It's really a matter of what these other devices can provide for you.”

Ashley said users are demanding smaller snippets of more detailed information, like Google Now and Windows tiles. “Instead of providing this large dashboard with this information all over it, you will see little tiles with snippets of information that you can drill on. It's no longer about providing lots of detailed information. It's providing lots of detailed information with context.”

The platforms for information delivery include glasses, watches, and other types of devices. The glasses derive their context from where you are, what you are looking at, and what you are supposed to be doing at that time. They use sight, sound, GPS, motion, direction, gesture and more.

Glasses are piggybacking on a set of interactions that you are already doing, and adding extra information on top of that, as opposed to a computer that you have to walk up to and begin providing context to. Glass augments a lot of your movements to gain input and complete a particular task.

Google Glass is an obvious use case for supply chain, Ashley said, when the user needs a third hand to reference material or communicate with someone about a part or a checklist. It can be recording what you are doing, or provide a channel for another technician to look over your shoulder as you check your work.

More use cases

Wearing Google Glass in meetings might also make sense. The user could be acting as a proxy who is sitting in the room for someone else and providing a feel of the room. 

In the financials spectrum, a user might want to keep information secret as opposed to making information public. Google Glass could be used by a CFO, who receives real-time data as opposed to opening up a laptop in a public place.

“When they say ‘augmentation,’ people think of Borg-like things on your head,” Ashley said. “Instead it’s about taking something that you already have, and just increasing the sensitivity to make it more meaningful or useful.”

As our data moves to the cloud, these kinds of experiences become more possible.

About

Check here for opinions, updates, and events from Oracle's Applications User Experience team: Applications Cloud, E-Business Suite, JD Edwards, Siebel, PeopleSoft, and more.

Misha Vaughan
Misha Vaughan, Director, Applications User Experience
@mishavaughan on Twitter

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